Executive Carte Blanche
Chalk one up for Big Energy and its boosters in the White House. On Friday, the General Accounting Office abandoned its efforts to force Vice President Dick Cheney to turn over information about which people he met with while heading up the administration’s secretive energy task force. The GAO, Congress’s investigative arm, had been fighting for nearly two years to find out who had input into formulating President Bush’s biz-friendly energy plan. But under pressure from Republicans, who won control of both houses of Congress in November, the GAO decided not to appeal a December ruling from a federal court that sided with Cheney. Some scholars worry that the decision will hobble the legislature’s ability to check executive branch power. “This is a tremendous setback for open government,” said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), one of the lawmakers who requested that the GAO undertake the probe.